Trouble Shooting email configuration in and – DNS Explained

I am writing this blog from the series of events happened after a customer’s query  ”Why am I not receiving some of the mails?”.

I received a call from one of our clients in Middle East. He asked me “Are you familiar with DNS issues?”. As baabtra usually teaches its students about DNS configuration and all, I said “Yes”.

Then he said, our domain expired and we paid around 90 $ extra to get it renewed and we are facing some issues receiving and sending the mails. The same issue was reported in 2009 when I was with the client in Dubai. I had explained why was it happening at that time. I will explain that towards end of the blog.


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When the client told me that that the domain was expired, I assumed that it is a simple issue where the DNS of the site is not configured. Immediately my question was where have you hosted your emails. They told me that they have registered with The client was trying to tell me about the zonal records of the domain. But I was not listening as I noticed that the domain was pointing to the default godaddy servers. I found the root cause as name servers are not pointing to the correct server.

In this case total mistakes happened are two.

  1. I was not listening to the customer.
  2. Without looking at the set up, I concluded that it is a problem with the Nameserver not pointing to the correct server.

When you have to host email address for your domain, there are multiple ways of doing it. This is one thing everybody(especially clients)  hates about the IT field. Why there is no standard way of doing things? The answer is different companies are making things and we can’t expect everyone to do it in the same way. Also IT is a new industry compared to automobile industry or any other industry. Sorry for going off the track. Some of the different ways are given below.

  1. Take a domain and email hosting with the same service provider. In my case, if I am going with, take email  also with them. This is the best approach if you don’t have an IT consultant who can fix the issues for you.
  2. Domain and email hosting with different providers. In this particular case, the domain is registered with and the email hosted at


Again for the second option, you have multiple ways of doing it. You can directly point the domain to the Email server or you can point the sub domain to the Email server. All these things are handled by Zone Records of the domain name. For more details


Now back to the customer problem. They just wanted me to confirm that the Zone records are correct and they wanted to know that why they were not getting all the mails. Because of the second mistake which I pointed out, I went and changed the Nameserver. Suddenly they stopped getting the mails. That is when I went and checked the Zone records. The client was trying to tell me to check the Zone records. But I related the nameserver and email hosted in a different server and jumped into the conclusion. I immediately reverted the nameserver change and they started getting email.

Before making the call to me itself, the client had solved the problem. They had told me about the fix as well.

Then I asked for a teamviewer session. I know that they are using Outlook so I just wanted to confirm which address they have given for the SMTP and POP. They had not used their domain there. They had directly used address. That was the reason why they were able to get the mails which reached their domain in Outlook.

Now if you have host the domain with and email with a different service provider(in this example, you need to do the following. The option I am suggesting does not require you to change your Nameserver to a different server.

1. Go to the DNS Manager in after logging to your account. Please find the screenshots below.

Godaddy Nameserver

Godaddy Nameserver



Zone File Editor Godaddy

Zone File Editor Godaddy










Add the MX records there. If you want to access your email with, add the CNAME record with your email provider URL.


There is a problem with the whole thing. That is there is no link between the domain name expiry in and email account expiry. In the case of this client, the domain expiry is in 2015 and the email expiry is 1/8/2014. Now in 1/8/2014, because of the email account expiry, the email will become inaccessible.  Please find the screen shot below.


register email

register email baabtra

Finally the conclusion is that, never assume that everyone must be following the same implementation just because you have the same service provider. We are also using service but the email configuration which they did was different from what we were doing. Ask the customer about their own set up, what they usually do. Without understanding their set up if you make give some suggestions or solutions, it can back fire. It can make the situation worse for the client.

Ask and clearly understand the steps followed by the client. As I said earlier the issue was resolved before it even came to me. Since the client told that they just renewed their domain, I assumed that they have not taken the next steps.

Now the customer’s question. “Why am I not receiving all the mails?”.

Answer: After the DNS or Zone records update, it will take 24 to 48 hours for propagating the change.

The other question, which the client had asked was about SMTP, POP values in the Zone Records. If  you are using the service provider’s URL in Outlook, it doesn’t matter what you give in the Zone Records of the domain service provider.

Hope this article gives some idea to a service provider on how to approach a problem with a client. “Don’t jump into conclusions. It can be costly”. I learned it in the hard way.


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